Maintaining a Raised Bed Garden
After you've built your frames, you need to mix your soil and put it into the frames.
If you like, you can use about 25% soil from your own garden as a base.
Then you can add in equal parts sand and compost, and be sure to check the pH balance of the soil to be sure it's within the range needed for your plants.
You can elevate your raised beds to provide extra protection against small animals.
You can cover bottom with chicken wire to help keep out small animals, and you can cover the tops with bird netting if you have a problem with birds eating your produce.
If you're worried about weeds in your raised beds, you can mulch with good organic bark mulch.
You can also use black plastic or weed guards, but it probably won't be necessary.
Most raised bed gardens don't have a lot of trouble with weeds, and those few weeds that do appear are usually very easy to get rid of.
If your plants happen to be attacked by a disease from the soil, you can get rid of the soil in your beds and start all over.
You wouldn't be able to do this in a standard garden, where you'd have to wait for two years to be sure the disease had been fully eradicated.
Raised beds are typically quite simple to keep moist. You'll only need to water the raised bed, so you can save a lot of money on your water bill.
You can also buy drip irrigation systems or soaker hoses that will water your plants for you.
This can be better for your plants than watering from overhead, because it can help prevent diseases and fungus.
During the heat of the summer, your raised beds may dry out faster.
This is due to the fact that the boards that make your frame get very hot, and can dry up the soil.
If this happens, you'll need to water more often than usual. This can be beneficial, though.
The extra heat produced by the boards can help you plant earlier, and extend your season longer.
It's very simple to maintain your raised beds.
You need to add organic material to the soil in your raised beds every year in the early spring, before you plant anything.
This will help ensure the plants will have adequate nutrition.
When your raised beds aren't in use in the winter, you can add a layer of crushed leaves over the top of the soil.
This helps protect the soil, and also helps provide a bit of organic material for the soil.
If you have a disease infestation that comes from the soil, you should remove all of the soil from the bed and dispose of it, starting from scratch with new soil.
You'll need to be sure to get rid of as much of that soil as you can.
You may need to add more sand or organic material occasionally to ensure proper drainage.
If your soil is drying out too quickly, or staying wet for too long, you'll need to adjust the makeup of the soil.
Finally, it's important to keep an eye on the material you used to build your frames.
If you've used untreated wood, this is especially important, because it can rot quickly.
Learn more here in our online Guide for Choosing the Right Type of Gardening for You and Your Home Garden.: Gardening Tips For Beginners
You can also learn here about lawn care for beginners
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